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Copying music from CD to your hard drive

I have chosen CDex because it is easy to use and easy to adjust so that it will do exactly what you want it to do. There are other programs available, not least Windows Media Player, although CDex will save into MP3 and WAV formats without having to buy extra 'add-ons'. I'll explain the differences between MP3 and WAV formats later on.

Also CDex is completely free, efficient and quick to download. You can download it from here:

CDEX 1.51 (1.9 Mb)

To download and install this program simply click the link above and follow the on-screen instructions. It should take around 5 minutes to download on a standard dial-up connection. Further help is available on the download website.

Once you've installed the program, locate it on your desktop or in your start menu and launch it. At this point you will also need a regular audio CD. Although to my knowledge there is nothing illegal about copying your own music onto your own computer some recent CDs have been tinkered with so that they won't work in this way. If you are interested in more information about this controversial topic there is some interesting information at the Campaign for Digital Rights.

CDEX Main screen

When CDex is launched it should come up like this. If you've already got an audio CD in the drive then the tracks will be listed.

Before we start it's a good idea to change the place where CDex wants to put the music on your computer. By default it wants to put it somewhere fairly hidden and murky so it'll be easier in the long run if we change this now. You only need to do it once!

If you've already done it you can skip the next two stages.

Go to the Options menu and select Settings. Or simply press the F4 key.

CDEX Options dialog

Up pops the Settings dialog. Click on the 'Filenames' tab in the top left of the new window.

On here there are two boxes with 'paths' in them. A path describes where a place is on your computer. You're probably more familiar with the term 'addresses' that the World Wide Web uses.

'Program Files\CDex_150\my music' is not a great place to keep your music so click on the button with three dots in it (see the screenshot, left) to change the path for both the WAV -> MP3 box and the Recorded Tracks box.

CDEX Browse for folder

Scroll right to the top of this Window and you should see a 'My Documents' entry. You can just select this and click OK to store all your music in with your documents.

Alternatively if you've got Windows XP then you'll have a folder within My Documents called 'My Music'. Click on the plus sign next to My Documents and scroll down to select My Music and then click OK so that your music will be stored in here.

More options

There's just one other thing that you need to do. You're supposed to put your email address in so that the program works properly, but I'd tend to suggest that you put in something bogus.

To do this click on the the Remote CDDB tab at the top right of the Settings dialog. Next to where it says 'Your Email address' type in something that looks fairly authentic.

Track listing

Now put an audio CD into the computer. If you're running Windows XP then you'll probably get a message with icons in asking what you'd like to do. Click cancel to return to CDex.

You should have a list of tracks in the CDex window. If you haven't then it might be that your computer has more than one CD drive. Click on the drop-down box (just under the help menu - it reads SAMSUNG CDRW in the screenshot) to select another drive.

Now at this point the Artist reads as 'No Artist', the Album as 'No Album', and the tracks remain nameless too. Something needs to be done about this or you'll really be pulling your hair out later on.

You can enter this information manually by going through track by track, right-clicking with your mouse and selecting 'Rename Track'.

CDDB Icon

However, if you've got access to the Internet you can use it to fill this information in automatically. Handy!

To accomplish this simply click on the 'CDDB' icon on the right of the window.

A few seconds later the track details are filled in for you... magic!

OK now assuming that you want all of the tracks on the album copied to your computer simply click on either:

Extract CD to WAV icon

Extract CD tracks to WAV files.
Use this if you want to use your music in Clicker 4.

Extract CD to MP3 icon

Extract CD tracks to MP3 Files
An MP3 file is almost identical to a WAV file, except it's a tenth of the size. Unfortunately Clicker 4 won't play MP3 files - although Clicker 5 does!

After a bit of a wait, the music will be present on your computer's hard drive. Hopefully in My Documents or better still in My Music inside My Documents.